Search JIM Advanced Search

Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2022, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (3): 213-220.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.02.003

• Systematic Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Reporting and methodological quality of meta-analyses of acupuncture for patients with migraine: A methodological investigation with evidence map

Ting-ting Lu a,b, Cun-cun Lu b,c, Mei-xuan Li b,d, Li-xin Ke e, Hui Cai f, Ke-hu Yang b,d   

  1. a Institution of Clinical Research and Evidence-Based Medicine, Gansu Provincial Hospital, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu Province, China
    b Evidence-Based Medicine Center, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu Province, China
    c Institute of Basic Research in Clinical Medicine, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, China
    d Key Laboratory of Evidence-Based Medicine and Knowledge Translation of Gansu Province, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu Province, China
    e Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Center, the First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510080, Guangdong Province, China
    f General Surgery Clinical Medical Center, Gansu Provincial Hospital, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu Province, China
  • Received:2021-07-12 Accepted:2022-01-10 Online:2022-05-09 Published:2022-02-04
  • Contact: Ke-hu Yang; E-mail address:;Hui Cai; E-mail address:


Acupuncture has been widely used to relieve migraine-related symptoms. However, the findings of previous systematic reviews (SRs) and meta-analyses (MAs) are still not completely consistent. Their quality is also unknown, so a comprehensive study is needed.

To evaluate the reporting and methodological quality of these MAs concerning acupuncture for migraine, and summarize evidence about the efficacy and safety of acupuncture for migraine.

Search strategy
PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Chinese Biomedical Databases, Wanfang Data, and VIP databases were searched from inception to September 2020, with a comprehensive search strategy.

Inclusion criteria
The pairwise MAs of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) concerning migraine treated by acupuncture or acupuncture-based therapies, with a control group that received sham acupuncture, medication, no treatment, or acupuncture at different acupoints were included.

Data extraction and analysis
Two independent investigators screened studies, extracted relevant data, and assessed reporting and methodological quality using PRISMA 2009 and AMSTAR 2, then all results were cross-checked. Spearman correlation test was used to evaluate the correlation between reporting and methodological quality scores.

A total of 20 MAs were included in this study. The included MAs indicated that acupuncture was efficacious and safe in preventing and treating migraine when compared with control intervention. There was a high correlation between reporting and methodological quality scores (rs = 0.87, P < 0.001). The quality of the included SRs needs to be improved mainly with regard to protocol and prospective registration, using a comprehensive search strategy, summarizing the strength of evidence body for key outcomes, a full list of excluded studies with reasons for exclusion, reporting of RCTs’ funding sources, and assessing the potential impact of risk of bias in RCTs on MA results.

Acupuncture is an effective and safe intervention for preventing and treating migraine, and could be considered as a good option for patients with migraine. However, the reporting and methodological quality of MAs included in this overview is suboptimal. In the future, AMSTAR 2 and PRISMA tools should be followed when making and reporting an SR with MA.

Key words: Migraine, Acupuncture, Systematic review, Meta-analysis, AMSTAR, 2PRISMA

[1] Xiang-yu Wei, Shi-lei Luo, HuiChen, Shan-shan Liu, Zhi-gang Gong, Song-huaZhan. Functional connectivity changes during migraine treatment with electroacupuncture at Shuaigu (GB8). Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2022, 20(3): 237-243.
[2] Samwel Sylvester Msigwa, Yan Li, Xiang-lin Cheng, Fen Cao. Combining electroacupuncture and transcranial direct current stimulation as an adjuvant therapy enhances spontaneous conversation and naming in subacute vascular aphasia: A retrospective analysis. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2022, 20(3): 244-251.
[3] Sergey Filist, Riad Taha Al-Kasasbeh, Olga Shatalova, Nikolay Korenevskiy, Ashraf Shaqadan, Zeinab Protasova, Maksim Ilyash, Mikhail Lukashov. Biotechnical system based on fuzzy logic prediction for surgical risk classification using analysis of current-voltage characteristics of acupuncture points. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2022, 20(3): 252-264.
[4] Bin Zhao, Yong Chen, Shi-min Liao, Jian-ying Zheng, Shi-hua Yan, Dong-shu Zhang. Successfully treated recalcitrant atopic eczema with acupoint autohemotherapy: A case report and hypothesized mechanism of the therapy. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2022, 20(2): 182-186.
[5] Witoo Dilokthornsakul, Ramanya Kosiyaporn, Rattanamanee Wuttipongwaragon, Piyameth Dilokthornsakul. Potential effects of propolis and honey in COVID-19 prevention and treatment: A systematic review of in silico and clinical studies. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2022, 20(2): 114-125.
[6] Xiao Ye, Yu-lan Ren, Yun-hui Chen, Ji Chen, Xiao-jiao Tang, Zong-ming Zhang. A "4D" systemic view on meridian essence: Substantial, functional, chronological and cultural attributes. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2022, 20(2): 96-103.
[7] Deng-chao Wang, Miao Yu, Wen-xian Xie, Li-yan Huang, Jian Wei, Yue-hua Lei. Meta-analysis on the effect of combining Lianhua Qingwen with Western medicine to treat coronavirus disease 2019. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2022, 20(1): 26-33.
[8] Jun-peng Yao, Li-ping Chen, Xian-jun Xiao, Ting-hui Hou, Si-yuan Zhou, Ming-min Xu, Kai Wang, Yu-jun Hou, Lin Zhang, Ying Li. Effectiveness and safety of acupuncture for treating functional constipation: An overview of systematic reviews. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2022, 20(1): 13-25.
[9] Yang-hao-tian Wu, Wen-bo He, Yin-yan Gao, Xue-mei Han. Effects of traditional Chinese exercises and general aerobic exercises on older adults with sleep disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2021, 19(6): 493-502.
[10] Yi Yuan, Rui-Ting Wang, Jun Xia, Hui-Juan Cao. Interventions for preventing influenza: an overview of Cochrane systematic reviews and a Bayesian network meta-analysis. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2021, 19(6): 503-514.
[11] Xin Yin, Shu-bin Cai, Lan-ting Tao, Lu-ming Chen, Zhong-de Zhang, Su-hong Xiao, Arthur Yin Fan, Xu Zou. Recovery of a patient with severe COVID-19 by acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine adjuvant to standard care. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2021, 19(5): 460-466.
[12] Thomas Efferth, An-long Xu, Roxana Damiescu, Mita Banerjee, Norbert W. Paul, David Y.W. Lee. Can eastern wisdom resolve western epidemics? Traditional chinese medicine therapies and the opioid crisis. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2021, 19(4): 295-299.
[13] Meng-zhu Zhao, Chen Zhao, Shuang-shuang Tu, Xu-xu Wei, Hong-cai Shang. Evaluating the methodology of studies conducted during the global COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2021, 19(4): 317-326.
[14] Qiu-yu Tong, Ran Liu, Kun Zhang, Yuan Gao, Guang-wei Cui, Wei-dong Shen. Can acupuncture therapy reduce preoperative anxiety? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2021, 19(1): 20-28.
[15] Liang Dai, Ka Kei Chan, Jian-chun Mao, Yu Tian, Jun-hua Gu, Jun Zhou, Linda L.D. Zhong. Modified Zhibai Dihuang pill, a traditional Chinese medicine formula, on steroid withdrawal in systemic lupus erythematosus: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2020, 18(6): 478-491.
Full text



[1] Wei-xiong Liang. Problems-solving strategies in clinical treatment guideline for traditional Chinese medicine and integrative medicine. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 1-4
[2] Zhao-guo Li. Discussion on English translation of commonly used sentences in traditional Chinese medicine: part one. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 107-110
[3] Jin-zhou Tian, Jing Shi, Xin-qing Zhang, Qi Bi, Xin Ma, Zhi-liang Wang, Xiao-bin Li, Shu-li Shen, Lin Li, Zhen-yun Wu, Li-yan Fang, Xiao-dong Zhao, Ying-chun Miao, Peng-wen Wang, Ying Ren, Jun-xiang Yin, Yong-yan Wang, Beijing United Study Group on MCI of the Capital Foundation of Medical Developments. An explanation on "guiding principles of clinical research on mild cognitive impairment (protocol)". Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 15-21
[4] Jin-rong Fu. Establishment of multivariate diagnosis and treatment system of modern gynecology of traditional Chinese medicine. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 22-24
[5] Hao Li, Ming-jiang Yao, Wen-ming Zhao, Jie Guan, Lin-lin Cai, Ling Cui. A randomized, controlled, double-blind trial of Huannao Yicong capsule in senile patients with mild cognitive impairment. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 25-31
[6] Jun Hu, Jian-ping Liu. Non-invasive physical treatments for chronic/recurrent headache. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 31
[7] Yi-ting He, Qing-lin Zha, Jian-ping Yu, Yong Tan, Cheng Lu, Ai-ping Lv. Principal factor analysis of symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and their correlations with efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 32-36
[8] Jun Cai, Hua Wang, Sheng Zhou, Bin Wu, Hua-rong Song, Zheng-rong Xuan. Effect of Sijunzi Decoction and enteral nutrition on T-cell subsets and nutritional status in patients with gastric cancer after operation: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 37-40
[9] Dong Yang, Yong-ping Du, Qing Shen, Wei Chen, Yan Yu, Guang-lei Chen. Expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin in renal tubulointerstitium in patients with kidney collateral stasis. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 41-44
[10] Xue-mei Liu, Qi-fu Huang, Yun-ling Zhang, Jin-li Lou, Hong-sheng Liu, Hong Zheng. Effects of Tribulus terrestris L. saponion on apoptosis of cortical neurons induced by hypoxia-reoxygenation in rats. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 45-50